Jeremiah 5:7
How shall I pardon thee for this? thy children have forsaken me, and sworn by them that are no gods: when I had fed them to the full, they then committed adultery, and assembled themselves by troops in the harlots' houses.
Jump to: BarnesBensonBICalvinCambridgeClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctGaebeleinGSBGillGrayGuzikHaydockHastingsHomileticsJFBKDKellyKingLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWParkerPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBWESTSK
(7) When I had fed them to the full.—The reading of the Hebrew text gives, though I had bound them by oath, sc., by the covenant, as of marriage; and this, as heightening the enormity of the sin that follows, gives a better sense than the English version, which follows the marginal reading of the Hebrew. The latter finds its parallel in Deuteronomy 32:15; Hosea 13:6. There is probably an implied reference to the covenant to which the people had sworn in the time of Josiah.

Houses.—Literally, house. The singular is, perhaps, used because the prophet thinks primarily of the idol’s temple as the scene of the adulteress’s guilt, which here, as elsewhere, is the symbol of national apostasy.

Jeremiah 5:7-9. How shall I pardon thee for this? — How canst thou expect that the holy God, the righteous Governor and Judge of the world, should connive at, or bear with, such iniquitous conduct in his intelligent and accountable creatures. He appeals to themselves, whether they can think it consistent with his justice to let such enormous offences as he mentions go unpunished. Thy children — Thy people, both in city and country; have forsaken me — Have apostatized from my worship and service; and have sworn by them that are no gods — Have made their appeals to them, as if they were omniscient and their proper judges. This is here put for all acts of religious worship which are due to God only, but with which they honoured their idols, thereby robbing God of his essential attributes, and ascribing them to creatures of their own fancy. When I fed them to the full — Gave them temporal blessings in abundance; then they committed adultery — Such is the natural effect of unsanctified prosperity. Shall I not visit for these things? — Do not such crimes as these call for some remarkable judgments as their chastisement? Can you yourselves suppose that Jehovah, whose name is Holy and Jealous, will let them go unpunished? Shall not my soul be avenged? &c. — God’s anger and vengeance signify, in Scripture, the execution of his justice, the effects of which are as terrible against obstinate sinners as if they proceeded from the highest resentment.

5:1-9 None could be found who behaved as upright and godly men. But the Lord saw the true character of the people through all their disguises. The poor were ignorant, and therefore they were wicked. What can be expected but works of darkness, from people that know nothing of God and religion? There are God's poor, who, notwithstanding poverty, know the way of the Lord, walk in it, and do their duty; but these were willingly ignorant, and their ignorance would not be their excuse. The rich were insolent and haughty, and the abuse of God's favours made their sin worse.Rather, Why, "for what reason" should "I pardon thee?"

When ... - Or, "though I bound them to me by oath, yet they committed adultery."

The harlots' houses - The harlot's house, i. e., the temple of an idol; the prophet had also in view (see Jeremiah 5:8) the unchastity which accompanied most forms of nature-worship.

7. It would not be consistent with God's holiness to let such wickedness pass unpunished.

sworn by—(Jer 5:2; Jer 4:2); that is, worshipped.

no gods—(De 32:21).

fed … to the full—so the Keri (Hebrew Margin) reads. God's bountifulness is contrasted with their apostasy (De 32:15). Prosperity, the gift of God, designed to lead men to Him, often produces the opposite effect. The Hebrew Chetib (text) reads: "I bound them (to Me) by oath," namely, in the marriage covenant, sealed at Sinai between God and Israel; in contrast to which stands their "adultery"; the antithesis favors this.

adultery … harlots' houses—spiritually: idolatry in temples of idols; but literal prostitution is also included, being frequently part of idol-worship: for example, in the worship of the Babylonian Mylitta.

How shall I pardon? how canst thou expect that I shall bear such affronts? I shall expose myself, and seem to lay aside my power; I shall be looked upon as one that either regard not such injuries, or cannot avenge them, as Jeremiah 5:9.

Thy children; thy inhabitants, both in city and country.

Sworn by them that are no gods, but by idols: swearing is here put, not for one part of worship, as sometimes it is, but for a religious worship and service of them, Jeremiah 4:2.

When I had fed them to the full, they then committed adultery: here is noted the abuse of God’s bounty, or the natural effect of our unsanctified prosperity, Deu 32:15 Jeremiah 2:7 Jude 4. That which in good men doth oft breed forgetfulness, in bad men generally breeds filthiness: rising up to play the wanton was the effect of Israel’s eating and drinking, Exodus 32:6, and of Sodom’s sin, Ezekiel 16:49. Adultery; either,

1. Metaphorically to be understood of their going a whoring after their idols; or,

2. Properly, for corporal uncleanness, they usually going both together, Numbers 25:1,2 Ho 4:12,14.

Assembled themselves by troops in the harlots’ houses; it may be read in the nominative case, the house of the harlot assembled themselves: q.d. The whole house of Israel, Jerusalem and Judea, are but one stew. If it refers to their idolatry, then it alludes to their making the temple a common house of spiritual harlotry; but rather, as it refers to their corporal uncleanness, it seems to intimate that they did not act their adulteries clandestinely or by stealth, but laying aside all modesty, they went to harlots’ houses, like brute beasts, in company, as ashamed of nothing.

How shall I pardon thee for this?.... Because of their manifold transgressions, and multiplied backslidings; or "wherefore, or for what, shall I pardon thee?" (r) as the Targum; can any reason be given why I should? what goodness is there in thee, or done by thee, that I should do this unto thee? The particle according to Kimchi, is a word of exclamation; and, according to Jarchi, of admiration; and may be rendered, "oh! for this shall I pardon?" how can it be? R. Menachem; in Jarchi, takes it to be the same with "not"; and to be rendered, not for this will I pardon; and so is an affirmation, and fixed resolution not to pardon, and that for the following reasons:

thy children have forsaken me; my worship, as the Targum interprets it; that is, the children of Jerusalem, the inhabitants of it, the common people, as distinguished from their fathers, the civil and ecclesiastical rulers; see Matthew 23:37, though not to the exclusion of them; for they were guilty of the same sin in forsaking the word, worship, and ordinances of God:

and sworn by them that are no gods; by the name of idols, as the Targum; or, "by those things which are not god", as Noldius (s) renders the words; who rightly observes, that there were other things besides idols that they swore by, as the heaven and earth, temple, altar, &c. with which the Arabic version agrees; when an oath ought only to be taken in the name of the living God; or, "swore without God"; without making mention of the name of the true God:

when I had fed them to the full; with the good things of life; gave them all things richly to enjoy; the best provisions, and fulness of them; so that they had all that heart could wish for. There is in the Hebrew text a beautiful play on words (t), between the word used for swearing in the former clause, and this for feeding here:

they then committed adultery; either idolatry, which is spiritual adultery; or adultery literally taken; as it seems from the following verse. This is the consequence of their being fullly fed; and that is an aggravation of this their sin against God and their neighbour; see Deuteronomy 32:13,

and assembled themselves by troops in the harlots' houses; either in the temples of idols, or in the stews or brothel houses, where harlots prostituted themselves; their going thither in troops, or in great numbers, shows both how universal and how public this sin was, and how impudent and barefaced they were in the commission of it.

(r) "ad quid, vel ob quid, vel quare parcam tibi?" De Dieu. (s) Ebr. Concord. Part. p. 199. No. 911. (t) "et juraverunt", "cum saturarem".

How shall I pardon thee for this? thy children have forsaken me, and {g} sworn by them that are no gods: when I had fed them to the full, then they committed adultery, and assembled themselves by troops in the harlots' houses.

(g) He shows that to swear by anything other than by God is to forsake him.

7. If the MT. be right, the transition to Jehovah’s words is an abrupt one. Du., however, considers that an abbreviation of the common formula “Thus saith Jehovah” was misunderstood and so brought about a corruption of the text. He would accordingly restore thus: How can I pardon them, saith the Lord; they have, etc.

I had fed them to the full] not as mg. made them swear, meaning, had bound them to me by oath. They had made use of their prosperity only as facilitating and inciting to sin. Cp. Deuteronomy 32:15.

The last part of the verse may be understood to include the sense of faithlessness to their Divine Spouse, but Jeremiah 5:8 seems clearly to indicate a reference to the impure rites which accompanied idolatry.

assembled themselves in troops] The verb in MT. suggests bands of marauders (cp. e.g. 2 Kings 5:2). As this is an unsuitable sense here, it is better (with LXX) to read by a slight alteration in the Hebrew (where d and r are very similar letters), made themselves sojourners (yithgorâru for yithgodâdu).

Verse 7. - How... for this? rather, Why should I pardon thee? Thy children; i.e. (since "the daughter of Zion" is equivalent to Zion regarded as an ideal entity) the members of the Jewish people (comp. Leviticus 19:18, "the children of thy people"). When I had fed them to the full. So Ewald, following the versions and many manuscripts (there is no marginal reading in the Hebrew Bible). This gives a good sense, and may be supported by ver. 28; Deuteronomy 32:15; Hosea 13:6. But the reading of the received Hebrew text, though somewhat more difficult, is yet perfectly capable of explanation; and, slight as the difference is in the reading adopted by Ewald (it involves a mere shade of pronunciation), it is not to be preferred to the received reading. Read, therefore, though -r made them to swear (allegiance),!let they committed adultery. The oath may be that of Sinai (Exodus 24.), or such au oath as had been recently taken by Josiah and the people (1 Kings 23:3; 2 Chronicles 34:31, 32). The "adultery" may be taken both in a literal and in a figurative sense, and so also the "harlots' houses" in the next clause. It is also well worthy of consideration whether the prophet may not be referring to certain matrimonial customs handed down from remote antiquity and arising from the ancient system of kinship through women (comp. Ezekiel 22:11). Jeremiah 5:7This verse is neither a threatening of future punishments, nor is to be taken figuratively (lion, bear, leopard, as figures for dreadful enemies). The change from the perf. הכּם to the imperf. ישׁדדם and יטּרף tells against the future construction, showing as it does that the verbs are used aoristically of chastisements which have partly already taken place, which may be partly yet to come. And the figurative explanation of the beasts of prey by hostile peoples - found so early as the Chald. - is not in the least called for by the text; nor is it easy to reconcile it with the specification of various kinds of wild beasts. The words are a case of the threatening of the law in Leviticus 26:22, that God will chasten the transgressors of His law by sending beasts of prey which shall rob them of their children. Cf. with the promise, that if they keep His commandments, He will destroy the wild beasts out of the land. Cf. also the fact given in 2 Kings 17:25, that God sent lions amongst the heathen colonists who had been transplanted into the depopulated kingdom of the ten tribes, lions which slew some of them, because they served not Jahveh. The true conception of the words is confirmed by Ezekiel 14:15, when in like manner the sending of evil (ravening) beasts is mentioned as an example of God's punishments. הכּה, smite, is a standing expression for the lion's way of striking down his prey with his paws; cf. 1 Kings 20:36. זאב ערבות is not wolf of the evening, as Chald. Syr., Hitz. explain it, following Habakkuk 1:8 and Zephaniah 3:3; for ערבות is not the plural of ערב, but of ערבה, steppe: the wolf that lives in the steppe, and thence makes its raids on inhabited spots. The reference of the words to place is suggested plainly by the parallel, the lion out of the wood. The leopard (panther) watches, i.e., lies lurking in wait against their cities, to tear those that come out. The panther is wont to lie in wait for his prey, and to spring suddenly out on it; cf. Hosea 13:7. With "because many are thy transgressions," cf. Jeremiah 30:14.

Since these chastisements have profited nothing God cannot pardon the people. This is the meaning of the question in Jeremiah 5:7, אי לזאת, wherefore should I then pardon? not, should I then pardon for this? for אי by itself does not stand for ה interrog., but is set before the pronom. demonstr. to give it the force of an interrogative adjective; cf. Ew. 326, a. The Cheth. אסלוחest obsoletum adeoque genuinum (Ros.); the Keri substitutes the usual form. To justify the question with a negative answer implied, the people's fall into idolatry is again set up before it in strong colours. Thy sons (the sons of the daughter of Zion, i.e., of the national congregation, and so the individual members of the nation; cf. Leviticus 19:18) have forsaken me, and swear by them that are not gods, i.e., the idols; cf. Jeremiah 2:11. For אשׁבּיע אותם, I caused them to swear, the old translators have אשׂבּיע , I filled them to the full, and so it is read in many codd. and edd. This reading is preferred by most of the ancient commentators, and they appeal for a parallel to Jeremiah 5:28, and Deuteronomy 32:15 ("when Jeshurun waxed fat, he kicked"), Hosea 13:6; Nehemiah 9:25, etc., where apostasy from God is chidden as a consequence of superfluity of earthly goods. So Luther: "and now that I have filled them full, they committed adultery." Now possibly it is just the recollection of the passages cited that has suggested the reading אשׂביע. The apodosis, they committed adultery, forms no antithesis to filling full. Adultery presupposes a marriage vow, or troth plighted by an oath. God caused Israel to swear fidelity when He made the covenant with it at Sinai, Exodus 24. This oath Israel repeated at each renewal of the covenant, and last under Josiah: 2 Kings 23:3; 2 Chronicles 34:31. Hence we must not wholly restrict the searing to the conclusion of the covenant at Sinai, nor wholly to the renewal of it under Josiah. We must refer it to both acts, or rather to the solemnity at Sinai, together with all solemn renewals of it in after times; while at the same time the reference to the renewal under Josiah, this being still fresh in memory, may have been the foremost. We must not confine the reference of ינאפוּ to spiritual adultery ( equals a fall away from Jahveh into idolatry); the context, especially the next clause, and yet more unmistakeably Jeremiah 5:8, refers to carnal uncleanness. This too was a breach of the covenant, since in taking it the people bound itself not only to be faithful to God, but to keep and follow all the laws of His covenant. That the words, crowd into the house of the harlot, i.e., go thither in crowds, are to be taken of carnal uncleanness, may be gathered from Jeremiah 5:8: each neighs after the wife of his neighbour. Fornication is denounced as a desecration of the name of the Lord in Amos 2:7. The first clause of Jeremiah 5:8 suggests a comparison: well-fed horses are they, i.e., they resemble such. On the lechery of horses, see on Ezekiel 23:20. The Cheth. מוזנים is partic. Hoph. of זוּן, in Aram. feed, fatten, here most suitable. The Keri מיזנים would be the partic. Pu. from יזן, the meaning of which is doubtful, given arbitrarily by Kimchi and others as armati sc. membro genitali. משׁכּים, too, is derived from משׁך, and given by Jerome sensu obscaeno: trahentes sc. genitalia; but משׁכּים cannot come from משׁך, משׁכּים being the only possible form in that case. Nor does trahentes, "draught-horses" (Hitz.), give a sense at all in point for the comparison. A better view is that of those who follow Simonis, in holding it to be partic. Hiph. of שׁכה, in Aethiop. oberravit, vagatus est. The participle is not to be joined with "horses" as a second qualifying word, but to be taken with היוּ, the periphrastic form being chosen to indicate the enduring chronic character of the roaming.

Jeremiah 5:7 Interlinear
Jeremiah 5:7 Parallel Texts

Jeremiah 5:7 NIV
Jeremiah 5:7 NLT
Jeremiah 5:7 ESV
Jeremiah 5:7 NASB
Jeremiah 5:7 KJV

Jeremiah 5:7 Bible Apps
Jeremiah 5:7 Parallel
Jeremiah 5:7 Biblia Paralela
Jeremiah 5:7 Chinese Bible
Jeremiah 5:7 French Bible
Jeremiah 5:7 German Bible

Bible Hub

Jeremiah 5:6
Top of Page
Top of Page